Joan Ellen Drake

September 27, 1930 ~ September 6, 2022 (age 91)


Joan Ellen Drake,  of Lake Monticello, Virginia passed away on September 6, 2022. She was born in Newark, New Jersey on September 27, 1930 to the late August Herbert and Laura Riepe Gewecke. Joan graduated from College High School at Montclair State one of 28 students in her class. Remaining lifelong friends with her classmates brought Joan great pride and joy.

After high school Joan attended Berkeley Secretarial School. Upon completion her first job was as a secretary at Walter Kidde. Joan met her husband Lyman Drake on a blind date. They married on May 2, 1953 in Newark, New Jersey.

In 1956 Joan and Lyman moved to Packanack Lake, Wayne, New Jersey where they lived for 39 years and raised their four daughters. Joan became a stay- at- home mother spending a majority of her time shuttling daughters to various sports activities including innumerable swim meets. While the girls were competitive swimmers, Joan became a certified diving judge. Her lifelong passion for tennis developed while living at Packanack.

 In 1995 Joan and Lyman moved to a home they built at Lake Monticello, Virginia. There Joan continued to play tennis, took up golf which she had played sporadically as a young adult and began line dancing. Though Lyman played golf far longer than Joan it was she who had the only hole- in- one in the family. This was accomplished on June 24, 2001 at the Lake Monticello golf course. Joan continued to play golf with good friends until turning 90.

Joan was predeceased by Lyman in 2017, her parents and her brother, Jack Fearon. She is survived by her four daughters, Leslie Drake Newton and husband Robert (Hugh) Newton, Jr. of Williamsburg, Virginia; Meredith Ann Drake and husband Robert Alford of Austin, Texas; Cynthia Drake Soltis and husband David Soltis of Galloway, New Jersey; and Laura Drake Flower and husband Michael Flower of Wayne, New Jersey. Joan is also survived by ten grandchildren, Stephanie Newton Johnson, Meredith Newton, Robert Newton, III, Corinne Alford, Maris Alford, Matthew Soltis, Valerie Soltis Coulter, Drake Flower, Caden Flower, Bryce Flower, one great grandson, Graham Johnson, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Joan was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother and often referred to as a “sweetheart”. Nothing made her and Lyman happier than being with family and attending untold numbers of dance recitals, concerts and every sporting event imaginable. Joan did not want to be left out. She was intensely proud of her family and knew she was truly blessed.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 11, 2022  at 3 pm at South Plains Presbyterian Church, 410 Black Cat Road, Keswick, Virginia. In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial contributions to South Plains Presbyterian Church, P. O. Box 277, Keswick, Virginia 22947. The family requests that attendees please wear masks.

Thacker Brothers Lake Monticello Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Family and friends may share memories and photos at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan Ellen Drake, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
September 11, 2022

3:00 PM
South Plains Presbyterian Church
410 Black Cat Road
Keswick, VA 22947

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